Paul honoured after prison riot

PROUD Rockhampton dog handler Paul Vines was yesterday recognised for his fearless role in rescuing seven colleagues during a prison riot.

Mr Vines and his former dog, Tyson, helped save the correctional centre workers who had barricaded themselves into an officers' station and were surrounded by 300 rioting prisoners.

The prisoners had piled furniture and other debris up against the station and threatened to set it alight.

Yesterday after accepting the prestigious Director General's Award from Corrective Service Director Frank Rockett, Mr Vines relived the rescue which happened at Woodford Correctional Centre, near Brisbane, in 1997.

"At the time the adrenalin was pumping,'' Mr Vines, who transferred as a dog squad officer to the Capricornia centre the following year, said.

"We had no choice but to run in .?.?. there were nine guys. "When we started running with the nine dogs, (they) panicked.

"The dogs' feet were going a million miles an hour and their teeth were bared.''

It gave the dog squad officers enough time to free the workers and get them to safety.

Mr Vines said fortunately incidents like this were a rarity. "It's like a bad cyclone, they only happen every 10 or 20 years,'' he said.

While there had been other things in the years since, "nothing (has been) as bad as that''.

Tyson, died about five years ago, just as he was finishing his last assessment and is now replaced by three-year-old Iko.

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